Inhaling, he said, "New halfas can't be created by other halfas."

I cocked my head. "Why not? You're both sick and disgusting abominations…"

Glaring at me—and making his eyes even more intense—he replied, "We've tried. The unborn baby gains its powers too early and at around two months it phases through the mother. It's too premature to save, so it dies the instant it hits the floor."

My eyes widened. That was horrible! No wonder these filthy things wouldn't reproduce on their own… It wasn't because they couldn't, it was because they didn't want to keep killing the lives of their children.

"What about using that shock thing to make yourselves into halfas?" I suggested.

It was rumored that the first halfa was created accidentally by an abnormal electric shock. Something unnatural happened and it killed half of a human, resulting in that human's spirit remaining attached to the living body. In essence, that human was both dead and living, and since its spirit was still attached to its body, the human became half ghost. Thus, the first halfa was created.

"Tried it," he replied. "There were twenty of us who wanted to test that out. Only one of us came out alive. The voltage is too strong for most people to handle."

"Were you the one who came out alive?" I asked, this time genuinely curious. After seeing nineteen of his friends, or colleagues, or…whatevers die, it would make sense that he would be this harsh—although to the point of the "r" word?

He paused for a moment before shaking his head. "No. It happened before I was created."

"Then how were you created?" I continued, slightly confused as to why he took a bit before saying that he wasn't the halfa who came out alive.

He scoffed as if I had offended him. "You can shut up any time you want!"

"Okay, wait, you still haven't answered my question—how are halfas created and why do you need humans to do it for you?"

"We get human girls pregnant. The unborn baby is a quarter ghost and gets it powers later, so obviously it won't phase out of the womb. After it's born we take the baby and produce an electric charge. The electricity is fused with ectoplasm and shocks the baby. The voltage is cut by 50%, so it isn't enough to kill anyone. The ectoplasm in the electricity forces the other 25% of its ghost part, and it becomes a halfa. There's your answer," he growled, as if severely annoyed with the explanation.

"Wait a minute, you electrocute babies?!" I yelled. "What happens to the poor mother, huh? Do you zap her too?!"

"We take the baby from its mother and she either ends up pregnant again, or is sent off to an HBC."


"God, you really are dim. Human breeding camp. It's basically where she can spend the rest of her life outside the factory—she won't have to worry about encounters with halfas anymore. She's free to go wherever she wants or do whatever she wants," he mumbled, lowering his voice at the last part. "It's not even a breeding camp or even a camp at all; we just call it that."

My head shot up and this time, he was caught by my eyes.

"Is my mother free?" I breathed.

He tensed, again at the mention of my mother.

"I told you, she wasn't assigned to me. I don't have any mothers. Well…except for a few. But none of them are yours—they're all pregnant with my child. Just one more reason I'm stuck taking care of you all."

"WHAT?! I thought your job was to provide for us! You never said anything about getting us pregnant! What is this, some kind of sick amusement for you?! Do you enj—"

He cut me off before I could finish. "I'm not amused by dealing with hormonal women. I'm supposed to take care of you—and put up with you especially—but that's only part of my job. I'm also in charge of impregnating you and every other girl I take care of. In case you're as deaf as you are dim, you're brought here to get pregnant, give birth, and get out. The sooner you get pregnant, the sooner you can leave."

My jaw dropped and could only gawk at him. That was the prick… That needle had to have been injecting something—I knew what but I certainly didn't want to think about it—into me that would get me pregnant. And once I gave birth I would be stuck raising a halfa baby. Or…u-unless…

"After the baby becomes a halfa, what exactly happens to it?" I asked.

I was no cruel person and if it was my child, halfa or not, I would at least want it to know who its mother was. But I was just a human—100% human—and couldn't be shocked into a halfa without being killed, so how was I supposed to handle rearing a halfa child? Unless… Was he supposed to help out with that? Teach the baby how to control its powers? Would he play a part in the baby's life?

"It's taken from the mother and sent to a special anti-ghost nursery, where its powers are cancelled out until it begins to show signs of partial control," he replied.

"Uh…doesn't the mother help out? I mean, if the baby's powers—"

Again I was interrupted. "As soon as the mother recovers from labor, she's usually sent to the HBC; aka, the outside world. She won't see the baby again."

"What?! Why not?!" I shouted, determined to know why I would be unable to see my own kid.

He stood up and put his clothes back on.

He then shrugged and walked out the door with, "It's just the rule; how should I know?"

The already-familiar clunk followed by deep silence intruded my ears.

I proceeded to put my own clothes on. Feeling naked wasn't exactly comfortable and my body seemed to be begging me for a little privacy. After all it had been through, I decided to do as it wanted.

But now I would have to find other ways to pass time. Something told me Stick Bug wouldn't come in to bring me a TV or drawing pads with pencils. He had said his job was to take care of us in terms of necessities and that he didn't like it. So I honestly didn't see any reason why he would feel compelled to give me some form of entertainment.

I climbed onto my bed, which was surprisingly more comfortable than it appeared. Eventually, after giving it very little thought, I decided to daydream myself to sleep. It was after an hour of staying awake that I wished I had Stick Bug in here with his cleaning cloth. The gentle and regular shhh shhh shhh shhh of the cloth had been enough to lull me to sleep last time, despite the fact that evil lurked in the room. I wanted that again. It had already become addictive, that awful yet heavenly sound, and I found myself craving more of it. I wondered if it would be possible to get to sleep without that cloth. The noise that danced in my head and the noise that wasn't there were totally different and the one in my head was nowhere near as satisfying as the one that, sadly, wasn't there.

I hated the steady shhh shhh shhh shhh because it was Stick Bug who had introduced me to it, yet I loved the shh shhh shhh shhh because it was so calming. It literally let me relax as if there was nothing to worry about. And with that sound, there really was nothing to worry about. Stick Bug was too busy cleaning with it so I was safe until that shhh shhh shhh shhh stopped. Then I went back to being tense and wary. In case you haven't noticed by now, I really hated that feeling.

Maybe I could somehow convince him to give me the cloth. I could hang my arm over the mattress and sweep it leisurely across the floor until I conked out. The reality of the situation I was in right now seemed to be something in which something as simple as a cleaning cloth wouldn't matter whatsoever, but the other reality of this situation was that it did matter because stress would only make this worse. That special cloth was my equivalent of burning incense while soaking in a hot bubble bath.

So shut up and don't judge me on this.

I wanted to see if there was a clock in here but I highly doubted they had one. Even if they did, what difference would it make to me? I had no natural light to tell me how late or early it was in the day or night. I had nothing to do except sit in here all day every day. In short, it wasn't exactly like I had a schedule.